Aussie rules stars picked for NSW

By Ellen Dunger (Armidale Express, 27/06/2017)
They’ve already starred for Sydney Swans Academy and now young New England Nomads stars Clarrie Barker and Cameron Graham will step up another level to play for the state against Queensland. 

The duo played in the under 19 game against Greater Western Sydney last month and their performances there earned them selection in the NSW side. 

The rise up the Australian Rules playing ladder could continue after the game for the Nomads pair with the potential to be picked in the NSW and Queensland allied side to take on Victorian squads. 

Should they progress further, Barker and Graham have the opportunity to showcase their talents to AFL talent scouts. 

Barker is vice-captain of the Nomads this year and said the experience in Sydney six weeks ago was an eye opener and to be chosen for further representative honours was an exciting prospect.  

“I was pretty surprised actually because this is the second round,” he said. 

“I was pretty shocked to be honest, I didn’t find out until one of our coaches down in Sydney rang us and told us so it was good to find out.

“Playing here is nothing like playing down there, it is just whole other level.

“You get to play with blokes your own size and age.

“The skill is 10 times better.

“Down there it is all skills and the competition is a level up. 

“You just pick up stuff that doesn’t up here.”

Talent in the sport runs in Graham’s family with older brother Dave Richards captain the Nomads to multiple grand final wins and picking up numerous accolades for his performances. 

He said having a family member so dominant in the sport has benefited his own game.

“He [Richards] should have been down there before me,” he said. 

“He helped me out.

“I wouldn’t be this person [without his help], he taught me about footy.”

A great contributor to the pair’s success has been the man at the helm of the Nomads. 

“Adrian Walsh is pretty helpful,” Barker said. 

“He’s been a big help throughout this.”

The boys will play against Queensland on the Gold Coast on July 8.

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